Thursday, April 19, 2007

China to overtake the US as the biggest carbon emitter within this year or the next

According to Reuters the International Energy Agency reports that China will overtake the USA within a year as the world's largest carbon emitting nation. This is no news really as it has been expected to happen for a long time, but now a more exact time frame has been established. This goes to show how important it is to engage large developing nations like China, India and Indonesia in the climate debate. The world is in dire need of the participation of such nations to help find solutions to climate change issues if we are to overcome these almost insurmountable obstacles. This is one unfortunate side effect of development. The developed nations have here a strong incentive to engage the developing part of the world and together find solutions that everyone can live with. Technology transfers and carbon trading goes a long way, but is not enough. Diplomacy and education are needed as additional tools.

It is very important to remember that this is the price that consumers in the developed part of the world are now paying for the cheap goods that have been coming for decades from China and other developing nations such as India and Vietnam. The US and European consumers have a responsibility equal in this respect since degradation of the environment and huge consumption of energy is what has allowed consumers cheap access to goods such as electronics and clothing. We must also not forget this side to the story as we work together to solve these issues. This is one aspect it seems that the leaders of the USA and Australia have forgotten as they keep ignoring international efforts to stem climate change. We are all responsible!

See also the previous and related posting of February 22, "China: The Environmental Challenge"

China will overtake the United States as the world's biggest emitter of heat-trapping carbon dioxide (CO2) either this year or next, the International Energy Agency said on Wednesday.

The estimate is much firmer than the IEA's previous forecast, last November, that on current trends China would overtake the United States before 2010.

"Either this year or next year," IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol told Reuters, in answer to the question of when China would overtake the United States.

Read the full article by Reuters here: China about to become biggest carbon emitter

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